By Monica Radel '11
While many high school graduates spent their summer relaxing, the newest members of the Higher Education Opportunity Program/African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American Program (HEOP/AHANA) were hard at work, taking classes in English, mathematics and computer science.
These students live on campus, spending their days in classes and their evenings in mandatory study hours. On the weekends, they enjoy outings that help them form a community and, ultimately, a support system during their time at Le Moyne.
HEOP/AHANA is designed to help ease the transition between high school and college through rigid scheduling, structured study sessions and an introduction to upper-level academics. Members of these programs are capable students who, due to academic and financial limitations, would not normally be able to attend college. However, these programs provide financial assistance and academic resources to help these students succeed.
The HEOP is funded by New York State and provides residents with financial assistance and academic guidance throughout their time at Le Moyne. AHANA students do not qualify for the same financial assistance, but they fit the same academic profile as HEOP members.
According to program director Carl Thomas ’65, HEOP /AHANA students would not normally be accepted to Le Moyne through regular admission based on their academic performance. The program, however, recognizes the potential of these students and provides them with the resources to succeed. During the five-week summer program, HEOP/AHANA students develop important study skills and are introduced to various resources to help them transition from high school to college.
Throughout their years at Le Moyne, the HEOP/AHANA program provides counseling, academic resources and a strong sense of community for its students. During their first semester at Le Moyne, students take a specialized study skills course to ensure academic success. To be considered for the HEOP/AHANA program, students must complete the general application to Le Moyne and indicate their interest in the program on the form. HEOP/AHANA staff members also interview potential students before they are admitted into the program.
With the support of HEOP/AHANA, students succeed academically and become involved in campus life. Thomas believes that programs like these are essential on a Jesuit campus
“A Jesuit education should be a rich and rewarding experience that exposes its students to an array of cultures,” he says. “It needs to be as inclusive as possible so that its students have an appreciation of what other cultures have to offer and recognize that each culture is inherently valuable and that no one culture is superior to any other.”